Research within this theme will build on complementary theoretical and methodological foundations to provide a better understanding of inter- and intra-individual variabilities in psychological development processes. All four programs within this theme will continue work begun under the previous contract as well as exploring new issues. Program 1 will examine the effects of situations of vulnerability on vulnerabilities; program 2 will focus on the typical and atypical development of cognitive processes and on problems relating to inclusion; and program 3 will take an applied approach to adaptive testing and differentiated instruction for transversal competencies. Finally, the aim of program 4 is to develop innovative psychometric measurement models and practical measurement tools.


Research Program 1: Sensitive periods, atypical situations, lifespan, vulnerabilities

This program looks at situations of vulnerability that might impede children’s or adolescents’ development. We will consider a variety of social situations, including (1) risk-taking or violence perpetrated/experienced in extra- and/or inter-family contexts, and (2) the relationships between these situations and attachment styles, socio-affective adaptation, and social cognition. The program will also examine two parenting situations: (1) the perinatal period, notably attachment, post-partum depression, and bio-psycho-social resources and vulnerabilities, and (2) situations involving genetic disorders, studied by taking a transgenerational approach (being a parent and becoming a parent). Finally, the program will contribute to the recent field of neuro-psychological monitoring of children who have received organ transplants.


Research Program 2: Typical and atypical developmental pathways across lifespan

This program will study developmental pathways across lifespan in typical and atypical populations with and without disabilities. The main aims of these studies are: (1) to provide a better understanding of processes such as intelligence, language, executive functions, motor activity, memory, and emotions, and (2) to improve quality of life for people with disabilities by identifying new ways (human and environmental) of reducing situations of disability and the difficulties people with disabilities face in terms of social, school, and professional integration. Studies will draw on theoretical models from the fields of experimental psychology (developmental and cognitive), psychopathology (developmental and cognitive), and neuropsychology, and combine fundamental and applied approaches.


Research Program 3: Adaptative testing of transversal individual skills

Program 3 will evaluate developing skills (and compare them between groups) with the aim of designing remediation programs tailored to individuals’ needs (notions of adaptive testing and teaching). We will continue developing the TACIT digital platform (launched in 2006) for evaluating and adaptively remediating transversal cognitive skills, such as deducing a text’s implicit meaning, deduction skills for vocabulary (polysemy, register, etc.), spelling (homophones, homographs), and English grammar (using context to deduct the correct rule), and developing transversal skills in mathematics, decoding, and computing, etc.


Research Program 4: Psychometric development of measurement models and tools

Modeling variability requires specialized methodological tools, especially psychometric measurement models, and instruments that can be used in the field. This program’s goals are to develop response models for specific response formats (response times, bounded continuous responses) or contexts (adaptive testing, evolving abilities, dependent responses), together with applied measurement tools for a variety of attitudes and skills (mental arithmetic, written expression, computing, working memory, intelligence, creativity, and behavioral adaptability).